30 in 30: Day 12 (in which I pick apart Anne McCaffrey’s “feminism” and tell you why ten year olds really should not read her books (or my posts, truthfully))

A book or series of books you’ve read more than five times

Ugh. I really really really wish I could say The Black Jewels Trilogy for this one, but unfortunately I keep on losing my copy of that one and haven’t replaced enough times to have read it more than five times (I have read it four times). So in the interest of full disclosure…Freedom’s Landing, by Anne McCaffrey.

Don’t judge me! I was young! I did it for the money sex scene!

To be fair, though, Freedom’s Landing is a pretty good book, even if it is a prime example of some of Ms McCaffrey’s Favorite Tropes (that sounds like it should be a holiday dish of some sort: Favorite Tropes! Made of tears and repetition!).

She does ease up on the RACE A GOOD, RACE B EVIL (because A is for Aryan and B is for Black, see?) thing a little bit, but then puts all the blame on RACE C (for…cookies. They are a NEVER food!). To wit: book starts off with the Catteni established as the Bad Guys (with the exception of one, Zanial, who’s “good” even though he did try to rape the main character within the first 10 or so pages of the book) and the Terrans, Rugarians, Deski, and…some other alien races I’m forgetting the names of being the Good Guys. Catteni go around subjugating planets and taking slaves. One of the uses for slaves: making them colonize less-than-friendly planets for the Catteni, who will then move in and take advantage of all the slaves’ hard work. Apparently this works very well for them, and is important, as it is the basis of the entire book.

So, Kris Bjornsen and her fellow slaves get dropped on this planet…along with Zanial (it’s her fault she’s there, by the way, because when he made a move to grab her and rip her clothing off, she hit him over the head with a blunt object and then went to toss him in a deserted street of the main town of Barevi, only to get gassed because of the slave riots), whose life she saves by convincing the self-established leader of the slave-colonizers that Z would be useful.

By the end of the book it’s revealed that the Catteni are being controlled by a greater, EVILLER race, the Eosi (so I suppose they’d be Race E), who possess Catteni and make them do really gross things (like vote Republican). It is also revealed that Zanial has an amazing cock.

Because oh yes. Kris falls in love with him. And they totally do it. And it’s actually pretty hot, granted, but perhaps not the best thing for an impressionable 10 year old to be reading. Not because of the sex scene — I’m fully sex positive, and think kids can learn about sex and know about it a lot earlier than we give them credit for  — but because of the relationship dynamic.

Continue reading “30 in 30: Day 12 (in which I pick apart Anne McCaffrey’s “feminism” and tell you why ten year olds really should not read her books (or my posts, truthfully))”

30 in 30: Day 02 (in which I’m actually pretty serious about The Fifth Sacred Thing)

Day 02 – A book or series you wish more people were reading and talking about

I’ve been putting off writing this post, because I was playing World of Warcraft. (You thought I was going to say something thoughtful or poignant, didn’t you? Silly. You should know by now.)

Truth is, there are a lot of books that I wish more people were reading and talking about — they range from actual literature to my own to feminist theory. The one I settled on is a piece of fiction.

Continue reading “30 in 30: Day 02 (in which I’m actually pretty serious about The Fifth Sacred Thing)”

Book Review: Unleashed (Paranormal Romance). Now with more swearing!

Recently I was given a copy of Unleashed — a set of 4 short stories all in the genre of Paranormal Romance.

Awesome, I think. I need a good escape.

Unfortunately, two out of four of the stories made me want to escape back into real life because the men I know are better than the ones portrayed within the stories. That’s pretty damn sad, considering I’ve classified my last two relationships as wars because of the PTSD they’ve given me (Vietnam and Desert Storm, in order, in case you’re interested).

I mean, there’s a reason we read romance — we want to believe in people loving each other. I am the Mulder of paranormal romance — but my Scully side wants a little more from romance stories than “instant soul-mate, just add tears”.

But. Not knowing any of this before I started, I dove in eagerly into the first story, “Bond of Silver” by Rebecca York.

Continue reading “Book Review: Unleashed (Paranormal Romance). Now with more swearing!”

So close to the climax

Feminist author rants about avoiding sexism with the written word.

Godsdammit but trying to write feminist sex-scenes with a female character who’s a virgin and a male character who is decidedly not and is also much older than she is fucking hard.

Er. Difficult.

I’m actually past the climax at this point, but couldn’t resist the joke in the title. He’s on the run for his life, they’ve just been engaged to be married.

See the thing is is that my book — or at the very least the scenes with these characters — will probably be categorized as not-feminist because people will see it as falling into the patriarchy trap or somesuch nonsense. When the truth is that there is no such thing as the patriarchy trap in this world I’m writing about because it’s run by a matriarchy. If anything, this sex scene that I’m writing is actually really really different from standard sexual liaisons that occur in this world.

But, you know, we’re reading it in this world here where this sex scene may be seen as too traditional — girl is virgin until engagement, and nervous about first time. Guy is much older and much more experienced. Etc, you know the story and you are qutie sick of it. But I don’t really have any control over what my characters do.

The thing is I do consider my works to be feminist because they are not done within a male-dominated viewpoint. That is, even when I write my male characters, primary concern is not “what will men think of this”.  Primary concern is “how will this affect me” or “how will this affect the goddesses I serve” or “how will this affect my relationship with other characters, regardless their genders”. Which is how it is in this feminist’s life (yes, I am a feminist — I really hope this doesn’t surprise you, because it shouldn’t). If something I do does have some sort of affect on the men around me, that’s a side-effect that was not calculated into the original action.

Like earthquakes. Earthquakes happen because the earth needs to release tension. And they royally fuck up our lives in the process, sometimes killing us. But the earth doesn’t just get up and say to herself  “I’m going to kill some humans today! Yeehaw!” and then proceed to shake the shit out of us. The earth says “Damn, there’s a crick in my spine, maybe if I just stretch this way… *rumble* …aaaah! There we are!” and then it just happens to have an affect on us.

So replace humans with men and earth with women in that scenario and you see what I mean. (Not with killing, obviously. It’s not a perfect metaphor.)

~

In other news, my YTD word count for GYWO is 15,488. That’s 15,240 in Bellica and 248 in two short vignettes which can be found at live-in demons and absent angels (note that the second one is schedule to post on Tuesday morning, so you won’t see it till then), which is one of my tumblr sites. I’m posting these vignettes there because they’re quite a bit different from the work I post at Muerta’s Tears. And no, they’re not blog posts, because they’re not something I write in my blog when I’m bored. They’re something I write and then post online because I want people to read them.

Bellica has become my own private Athena. I get headaches when I don’t write now. I’m getting the beginnings of one as I type this and I’ve only stopped working on the book for about 5 minutes. I can’t stop writing on it. Last weekend I wrote 40 hand-written pages on it. The past two days I’ve written another 12 or 13. And this month I’ve typed 8,105 words — larger word count than I got last month, and I’ve had a way later start this month.

Reaching the climax just released the floodgates. I’m glad I had the past week off school, otherwise I would have totally fucked over my academic career in pursuit of plot.

Ok. Back to the grindstone. I’ll be checking in sometime in March, when I work on doing 50 hours of editing Bellica (I’ll be finishing it this first week of March) and writing 10,000 words on The Man of Bronze.